The Diocese of Buffalo St Vincent DePaul Society Central Council held its 23rd Annual Top Hat Dinner on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 at the Millennium Airport Hotel Buffalo. Cocktails began at 5:30pm with dinner following at 6:45pm. Over 200 Vincentians and guests had a wonderful time sharing a night of fellowship while recognizing the dedication of their contemporaries in the performance of our Vincentian avocation.
2018 Top Hat Award
Our Top Hat Award goes to KW Appliances, 1913 Niagara Street, a locally family owned and operated business in the Riverside neighborhood of Buffalo. We first engaged them through the Timon conference when we were looking for affordable sources of appliances for clients when we did not have anything in our Main Street store to furnish. And boy are their prices reasonable! The appliances are refurbished but so thoroughly cleaned and checked out that they warranty them and our volunteers have seldom received calls that the appliances have broken and if we do receive those calls, it’s usually years after they’ve been received. KW also arranges delivery and installation, going to heights—sometimes the third floor—times, and neighborhoods where our store trucks cannot go. They have a super repairman, Brad, who makes house calls to see if repairs will satisfy the customer instead of replacing the item, thereby saving us money. Brad also reports information about the case which can be helpful to our volunteers. Their product and service is exceptional and, to top it off, they are very friendly too! The owner Ken Walter and his wife are on a well-deserved vacation but, in his place are his children Jen and Brian who also work in the store.
In keeping with our green philosophy KW offers appliances that are refurbished but so thoroughly cleaned and checked out that they warranty them. Our volunteers have seldom received calls that the appliances have broken and if we do receive those calls, it’s usually years after they’ve been delivered.
KW also arranges delivery and installation, going to heights—sometimes the third floor— and times when our own trucks are unavailable.
And boy are their prices reasonable!
They have a super repairman, Brad, who makes house calls to see if repairs will satisfy the customer instead of replacing the item, thereby saving us money. Brad also reports information about the case which can be helpful to our volunteers.
Their product and service is exceptional and, to top it off, they are very friendly too! The owner Ken Walter and his wife are on a well-deserved vacation but, in his place are his children Jen and Brian who also work in the store.
2018 Ozanam Medal Recipients
Dolores Dehaas of Infant of Prague, Cheektowaga, has been a Vincentian for 20 years. For years now, Dolores and her husband Tom deliver food to St. Columbia- Brigid, St. Martin DePorres, Mother Theresa home and their clients at Infant of Prague. At thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter they pick up the food and meats from Aldi’s and bring it to the pantry for packing, then delivery. Her husband Tom was a past recipient of the Ozanam medal. Her grandsons get involved with deliveries with Dolores hoping that someday they would join SVDP. For her parish, Dolores has been Counting Collections C.I.O.P. every 3rd week for 40years.
Lee Hartung of Nativity of Our Lord, Orchard Park, has been a Vincentian for 15 years. A pioneer of the conference at Nativity of our Lord, Lee built a SVDP poor Box collects several hundreds of dollars per year. Lee continues making home visits in the city. He also serves the parish as an usher, and with the boy scouts and Knights of Columbus.
Leanne Karmazyn of Queen of Martyrs, Cheektowaga, has been a Vincentian for nine years. Conference Treasurer, helps to prepare and participates in the walk for the poor annually here and even one in Venice Florida, repaired the Burgars Cabin at camp, visits the sick in the hospital, delivers food to the less fortunate, works at the annual clothing drive, aids at SVDP Dining room monthly, conducts home visits, and chauffeurs the conference president. Outside of the conference she assembles rosary and prayer packets for all the attendance at out church, makes angels for Christmas trees, tells parishioners what to get the less fortunate for Christmas, is a religious education teacher, works for Nicaraguan Missions & Catholic Charities, cooks for Ronald McDonalds house and volunteers at area parks.
Audrey Kunz of Our Lady of Charity, Buffalo, has been a Vincentian for ten years. As president of Our Lady of Charity Conference, Audrey schedules home visitations for our members including herself, visits parishioners in nursing homes, and works with the coordinator of the Bishop Kimiec Food Pantry where we send many of our clients for assistance. Audrey initiated the publishing of an OLC conference Newsletter. Audrey’s outstanding leadership and organizational skills were recognized by the East District Regional Council when they elected and reelected her its president. Other activities include: Eucharistic minister, Lector, and Sacristan at Holy Family worship site, Liturgy Committee and social action committee, and fundraisers. Audrey has been a member of Make A Wish organization and donates time to Father Baker Manor in O.P. each week where she distributes communion and offers spiritual support to the residents.
Sandra Miller of St. Francis of Assisi, City of Tonawanda, has been a Vincentian for over 20 years. She has served her conference as Vice President and Treasurer. Leading the Outreach Program, Sandra organizes the food drives for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas and solicits donations and grants from a network of donors to keep their shelves stocked. She is the parish secretary and volunteers at a number of other service agencies such as Salvation Army, Little Portion Friary, The Kibler Senior Center, Sister Janice at the Response to Love Center and St. Benedicts Church.
Joe Pietrocarlo of St. Mary on the Lake, Hamburg, has been a Vincentian for 20 years. Joe has been involved with the St. Vincent de Paul Society Conference as a leader holding the offices of vice president and president for many years, and went on many home visits to anyone in need of help. At St. Mary of the Lake Church in Hamburg, Joseph is a lector, usher, and president of the travel club, volunteers on numerous committees like the Bereavement committee and for funeral duty and events such as the annual lawn fete, meat raffle, and charity dinners and the men’s retreat to mention. In the community, Joseph is currently President for the senior division at the Knights of Columbus in Hamburg and a member of VFW Post 1419 in Lakeview & the American Legion post 527 in Hamburg.
Bella Ryan of St. Vincent de Paul, Niagara Falls, has been a Vincentian for eight years. Bella has been vice President to two conference presidents. She works on their meat raffle and the mail carriers drive, not only helping to organize the associate members but also students who help with this event. Bella takes her turn at keeping our cell phone for a month twice a year to answer calls and set up appointments for clients to receive their food. She also organizes CCD youth to help on our thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to help. Beyond that, Bella is a Eucharistic Minister, lector and a Sunday money counter for our church. She also works Bingo on Saturday nights for our parish, helps with our parish moms club and volunteers for any venture at our parish where they need help.
Shelly Schratz of Christ the King, Snyder, has been a Vincentian for over eight years. President of their conference, Shelly spearheads home visits, works with the CTK office communicating to their congregation, leads their Conference collaboration with Vive la Casa, collaborates with other Conferences in order to assure those our Society helps receive the good or services needed, organized, staffed and catered St. Joseph’s Day Feast that raised funds for our Conference, and recruits new members to join her Conference. Other church /Parish Activities include: through vive la casa the refugee organization, she helps both the organization with its needs lead vive out of their hole and found a way for them to join forces with Jericho road; and its clients with basic services including finding education, employment and a path to freedom. Shelly also helps Puerto Rican Refugees since they started arriving after hurricanes Maria and Irma, with furniture, helping with bills, finding shelter, moral support etc. Shelly communicates using an iPhone app to translate.